Tag Archives: argentinean slang

Zarparse, zarpado, zarpada

Zarpar literally means to set sail, but in Argentina this verb has a completely different meaning when we use it in a reflexive way.

When we say zarparse we don’t want to say that a person is going to sail away, although if someone se zarpa we might want him or her to sail very far away, to a very distant land, out of our sight.

Zarparse means to go beyond the reasonable limits. Zarparse can mean that someone is out of line, is joking a little bit too much or is doing much of something.

So, someone that is usually out of line is a zarpado or a zarpada. But when we use the adjective to refer to a thing, the word zarpado/zarpada can have a positive meaning: you can use it to say that something is re copado or genial.

Zarparse de means to be exceedenly something. Zarparse de lindo is to be beyond good looking, zarparse de rico is something extremely tasty or that has a lot of money (that is, to be forrado en guita) and zarparse de bueno could mean to be extremely nice or extremely hot, depending on the context.

  • Martín es un zarpado: como Carolina no quería estar más con él, intentó algo con su hermana. (Martín is a complete bastard: since Carolina did not longer want to be with him, he tried something with her sister)
  • … y entonces, después de muchas horas de escalada, llegamos a la cima. (… and then, after a few hours of climbing, we made it to the top)
  • ¡Zarpado! (Awesome!). Note: in this case, when using the word in an exclamation, stress a lot the “pa” syllable for a real Argentinean effect 😉
  • Lola es una zarpada: lleva dos días sin dormir porque se está preparando para el examen del viernes. (Lola is crazy: she hasn’t sleep this two last nights because she’s preparing herself for this Friday test).
  • Pablo se zarpa de bueno. (Pablo is really hot). Note: in this case, stress the syllable “zar” and practice your r.

Buen domingo, ¡y no se zarpen!

Pedo, estar al pedo, estar en pedo

Well, this is a word that you most likely won’t want to use in formal situations, or with people that you don’t know.

Pedo is actually a fart. And tirarse un pedo is to fart.

But this word has also non scatological uses. One of these uses is to say that someone is drunk. You’d say that the person está en pedo. This phrase also goes to say that someone is crazy.

Now, if a person tiene fiaca, and s/he has been all day doing nothing, we could say the person está al pedo.

 –         ¿Qué hiciste hoy? ¿Fuiste a trabajar? (What did you do today? Did you go to work?)

–         Nah, me quedé en casa todo el día. Estuve al re pedo. (Nah, I was at home all day. I haven’t done anything.)

 –         El sábado me tomé todo y terminé super en pedo. (On Saturday I drank everything and I ended up really drunk)

 –         Mi jefe está en pedo si cree que vamos a llegar a terminar todo para mañana (my boss is crazy if he thinks we’re going to finish everything for tomorrow)


Please, note the different meaning that the words en and al provide to the sentence.

verb estar (to be) + al + pedo = to have loads of free time, nothing to do

verb estar (to be) + en + pedo = to be drunk, to be crazy.

 Related with the meaning of en pedo, as in being drunk, and also related with ni ahí and ni a gancho, we have ni en pedo.

 Ni en pedo means that you won’t/wouldn’t do something even if you were drunk. It’s another way of saying no way.

–         Che, ¿nos tomamos un bondi? (Hey, should we take the bus?)

–         ¡Ni en pedo! Ya son las 3 de la mañana, tomemos un taxi.  (No way! It’s already 3 in the morning, let’s take a cab).

 De pedo is a phrase we use to indicate that we’ve accomplished something by chance, or just barely, at the last minute, with a little bit of luck.

 –         Le iba a pedir a Pablo que trajese vasos de plástico, pero me olvidé, pero de pedo él justo trajo un par (I was going to ask Pablo to bring some plastic cups, but I forgot about it, but just by chance he brought a few).

–         De pedo me acordé del cumpleaños de Mónica. (Just barely I remembered it was Monica’s birthday).

Another common phrase including the word pedo is a los pedos, which means in a hurry, very quickly, to be on the run.

–         Tuve que hacer todo a los pedos, porque me enteré ese misma mañana que viajaba a la noche (I had to do everything very quickly because I’d found out in the morning that I was traveling that same night).


Fiaca, hacer fiaca, tener fiaca, ser fiaca

Fiaca, in lunfardo, mean laziness, idleness. It’s the feeling of not wanting to do anything but to chill.

Hacer fiaca means exactly that. The exact translation would be “to do laziness”, but we use this word to express we don’t want to do anything: only to stay home and do nothing, or to go to someone else’s house to stay there and do nothing there. Well, perhaps watch a movie, definitely listen some music, but nothing that would require a great physical – nor  mental – effort.

Tener fiaca, means that you feel lazy, that you’re not in the mood for great movements. It means that your perfect plan for the evening is to watch the last season of The Wire in just one sitting, or something like that.

Ser fiaca means to be lazy. If you usually have fiaca and you usually do fiaca, people most likely will think of you as a fiaca. Larva is another word that might be used to describe you.

Fiaca, when used to describe a person, personify the kind of people that never wants to move, never visits you (s/he ask you to visit her/him), they call you to do something and at the last minute they will send you a text message to tell you that they’re not in the mood now to move from their places. And it gets a lot worst in the winter!

Here, some examples:

  • Ayer a la noche me acosté tardísimo y ahora tengo una fiaca increíble, ¿no querés venir a casa a ver una peli? (Yesterday night I went to bed reaaaally late, now I’m feeling really lazy, don’t you want to come home and watch a movie?

  • ¡Hace mucho frío! ¿Y si en lugar de salir a caminar nos quedamos haciendo fiaca en casa? (It’s very cold! Instead of going out for a walk, why don’t we stay home chilling?)

  • El día está hermoso, el sol está divino: es un día perfecto para hacer fiaca en el parque. (The day is beautiful, the sun is shinning: it’s a perfect day for chilling at the park)

  • Siempre intento organizar algo con él, pero es tan fiaca que es imposible sacarlo de la casa. (I always try to organize something with him, but he’s so lazy that’s impossible to take him out of his place)

Negro, negra, negrito, negrita, negri

Well, I think it’s time to talk about something that might sound strange to some people, even politically incorrect to others.

In English, specially in the US, there has been and still is a huge debate about which is the correct form to refer about someone whose skin is black.

In Argentina, the word negro is used with several meanings and not all are bad. So you can here someone saying negro, negrito or negri in a very sweet way, to a friend, a partner, even to a costumer – thing that I find very annoying because it means a confidence that I don’t have nor I wish to have.

This way, negro, negri, etc, is like saying honey or darling or dear.

Anyway, someone saying “Negri, ¿querés que te haga un café?” (Honey, would like a coffee?), of course doesn’t mean anything in particular about the other person, in fact, could be the whitest person in the world.

Unfortunately not always this word has a positive meaning: many people in Argentina use the word negro/negra as an insult.

–          ¿Qué podés esperar de él? ¡Si es un negro! (What do you expect from him, if he’s black!). Just an awful, terrible thing to say, but sadly, you’ll hear stuff like this all over the country.

Many Argentinians have a long way to go in the path to a language free of discrimination.

Tomar, pegar

If you’re already familiarized with the Spanish language, I’m sure you already know that to drink, in Spanish, is beber.

So if you go to Spain or to most countries of Latin America, you’ll hear in restaurants or bars: ¿Qué te gustaría beber? (What would you like to drink?).

If you say this in Argentina, everyone is going to understand you, and many people, might use it, but I think it would be useful for you to know – specially if you’re young and you go from bar to bar – that we use another word for this: tomar.

 –          Me tomé todo. (I drank everything). This phrase is used the next morning, while explaining your friend why you can’t remember what happened last night.

–          ¿Qué querés tomar? / ¿Qué preferís tomar? (What do you want to drink? /What do you prefer to drink?)

–          ¡Te tomaste hasta el agua de los floreros! (You even drank the water from the vases!). This phrase is of course used to indicate that a person drank waaay too much.

Tomar also means to take. So if you’re going to take a shower, you’ll say “Voy a tomar una ducha”, although you could also say “Me voy a pegar una ducha”.  If you’re going to take a bus, you say “Voy a tomar un bondi

Pegar literally means to hit or to glue or to stick, but in some contexts we also use it as to get and to talk about the effect of drugs in someone.

–          ¡Pegué un super trabajo! (I got a great job)

–          No sé qué fumó, pero le re pegó. (I don’t know what he smoked, but he’s really stoned).

–          Este collage me tiene cansada, estoy harta de pegar papelitos. (This collage is making me sick, I’m tired of gluing little papers).

–          Desde que se conocieron, están todos los días juntos, pegados. (Since they met, they’re every day together, like glued to each other).

Bondi, colectivo, cole, micro, ómnibus

All these words refer to the same thing: the bus. But depending where you’re in Argentina, you’ll hear one, two or all of these words.

Omni, in Latin, means all, or for everyone, so ómnibus means a “bus for everyone”. You’ll hear this word coming specially for old people. Also, when referring to the bus station (Estación de Omnibus).

Cole is short for colectivo, and is usually used for buses running inside the city.

Bondi is a word for lunfardo. While traveling in Brazil, a long ago, I discovered that tram in Portuguese is “bonde” or “bondinho”, so I guess bondi comes from there. This word is mostly used in Buenos Aires, although is spreading. Here, it’s only used as cole or colectivo: for local buses.

Micro, in the other hand, is used to refer to long distance buses.

In some other cities of Argentina, things are different. In some places they call the local buses micros and the long distance ones, colectivos.

Anyway, doesn’t matter which word you use, people will understand what you mean, but I think is nice and interesting to understand this small differences.


– Es re tarde, ¡me tengo que ir ya o voy a perder el micro! (It’s very late, I have to go now or I’ll miss the bus!)

– ¿Qué bondi tenés que tomar? (Which bus do you have to take?)


If you say bus in Argentina anyone will get it, but be aware that we don’t use it.

Joder, joderse, estar jodido, jodido/a

If you’ve been in Spain, you might be familiarized with this term, although in Argentina we use it in a different way.

You might hear a Spaniard saying “¡Joder!” because he/she is very surprised about something or irritated with someone.  You can hear in Spain “¡Joder! Qué molesto es este tío” (Damn! How annoying is this guy”), but this doesn’t apply in Argentina.

First, we don’t use the word as an interjection. Joder for us is “to annoy”. So we say things like:

–         Por favor, dejate de joder / ¡No jodas más, por favor! (Please, stop being annoying / stop disturbing me).

–         Ya no soporto a mis vecinos. Nos joden con sus peleas desde las 8 de la mañana (I can’t stand my neighbors anymore. They annoy us with their fights starting 8 am)

–         ¡Cómo jode este pibe! (How annoying is this guy!)

While joder is to annoy someone else, joderse means to do something in detrimental to oneself. It means that someone gets screwed, but basically because s/he did something to deserve it, or because s/he asked for it.

– ¡Qué se joda! Yo le dije que copiar el trabajo de Wikipedia no era una buena idea. (Screw it! I told him that copying the work from Wikipedia wasn’t a good idea)

Estar jodido, means to be screwed, fucked up, it can also means to be sick.

Está jodido. La profesora dijo que lo iba a desaprobar. (He’s screwed, the professor said she’s going to fail him)

Ando medio jodido de la garganta, creo que tengo anginas. (My throught is in pain, doesn’t feel good, I think I have tonsilitis)

Attention: someone that annoys a lot is not a jodido/a. The word jodido exists, but it is used to qualify another type of person.

Jodido/a – when it refers to a person – means that is difficult, hard to deal with or even dangerous. Even mean. You shouldn’t be around someone jodido.

– Pedro le dijo a nuestro jefe que a mí no me gusta trabajar. Es muy jodido, tené cuidado. (Pedro told our boss that I don’t like to work. He’s very mean, be careful)

When it refers to a thing, it means that’s just hard or difficult.

– El examen fue realmente jodido. No creo que apruebe. (The exam was really hard. I don’t think I’ll pass).

Attention 2:

Ser jodido and estar jodido don’t mean the same thing. If you say soy jodido, it means you’re kinda of an asshole, and no one should get very close to you. Now, if you say estoy jodido, it means that perhaps you got too close to someone jodido and you got screwed (te jodiste).

Attention 3:

¡Jodete! means  get screwed! so you may think that fuck you! might be also in order, but no, the meaning although similar, have different intention and intensity, so my advice is not to get those phrases mixed up.